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"What is the difference between Beam and Girder?

Best regards,


Silenio M. de Paulo"

Silenio,
As others have said, in common usage a girder is just
a big beam.  That's why we usually refer to built-up
steel shapes as plate girders--they're big.

I believe the term "girder" originally meant the beams
around the outside of a building, which supported
smaller infill beams.  These beams "girded" (encircled
or surrounded) the building.

Architectural engineering is endowed with many terms
whose meanings were probably a lot more specific a few
hundred years ago than they are now.  If anyone has
other examples, I'd be interested.  ("Waler" is one
I've always wondered about.  Did it wale?)

Mike Hemstad, P.E.
TKDA
St. Paul, Minnesota

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